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Tillage Update 6th May 2021

Ciaran Collins, Teagasc Crops Specialist, brings us this week's Tillage update on the weather impact on Spring crops. He has advice on managing crop stress and on applying the final growth regulator application on Winter Barley. Ciaran also highlights the importance of adhering to buffer zones here

Photo above: Stress spotting on winter barley after recent fungicide application


Spring crops were starting to show nutrient deficiency symptoms in many areas where soils had started to dry out but all crops are now benefiting from recent rain. Growth remains slow due to below average temperatures. It is difficult to get spraying opportunities due to wind and frost.

Crop stress

Many crops are showing signs of stress that manifests itself in a variety of symptoms from transient trace element deficiencies to stress spotting. Avoid spraying any crop under stress, as this will exacerbate the symptoms. Do not spray if frost is imminent. Where spraying can be carried out, avoid large tank mixes.

Winter barley

Final growth regulator on winter barley will be a difficult call for growers this week as many crops are approaching the latest timing for commonly used products like Terpal. The decision to apply a late PGR depends on a number of factors. Total nitrogen and organic manure, variety lodging rating and crop density/height are some of the key aspects to consider. Where crops are under stress leave the decision on whether a PGR is required till as late as possible. In some cases the decision may be to use a reduced rate or where crops are under stress, none at all.

Buffer zones

One of the topics on this week's webinar was on buffer zones and the use of drift reducing nozzles to reduce mandatory buffer zones. A video clip of the Buffer Zone topic (Reducing the Risk Of Spray Drift) can be watched below 

Buffer zones are applicable to all surface waterbodies, which is defined as ‘a feature which is capable of holding water permanently or at any stage during the year’ and are measured from the top of the bank of the waterbody. Buffer zones can vary in size (1m – 70m) but 1m applies in all cases regardless of application rate.

There are only three instances where the mandatory pesticide buffer zone can be reduced;

  1. When using DAFM approved drift reducing nozzles
  2. When using reduced application rates
  3. When using DAFM approved drift reducing nozzles and reduced application rates

It is important to refer to the PCRD website to establish the required buffer zone when using STRIPE. In the example below, the mandatory buffer zone is 30m but can be reduced depending on the rate and nozzle type used. If there are multiple products in the tank the largest buffer zone must be adhered to.

Watch 'Reducing the Risk Of Spray Drift' video below

You can watch the full May Crop Agronomy webinar here

For more Agronomy information check out https://www.teagasc.ie/tillagemonth/

The Teagasc Tillage Crop Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to Tillage farmers every Thursday here on Teagasc Daily